|An urban vs rural issue?
||[May. 17th, 2013|11:31 am]
[...] the worst books are often the most important, because they are usually the ones that are read earliest in life.|
I've forgotten where Lewis gets into this, saying that the stories about the city boy who rides the horse that the cowboys couldn't ride, are a more harmful sort of fantasy than anything with dragons. -- No, that can't be right. Fantasy stories are often about the farm boy who kills the dragon that the knights couldn't kill. Hm.
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|Yoga, pranayama, eye exercises, and Melina Mercouri and Margaret Anderson
||[May. 16th, 2013|08:11 am]
Mercouri's character in Topkapi, about the jewel robbery.|
I have no idea whether MM, or her character, actually practiced yoga, pranayama, or eye exercises. (MM did say she got her gestures and mannerisms from her mother, who [like Simpson's] was Egyptian. And that sort of arm movement seems common in the Indian sub-continent; the waiters set down your silverware with that kind of flourish.)
But the character models some things I'm getting from mundane US teachers lately.
( Read more...Collapse )
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|From the size of the audience for Montgomery, Ransome, Twain, etc....
||[May. 7th, 2013|11:28 am]
Houseboating off an interesting discussion at Oursin's.|
Let's define a window. The upper limit is things nobody comtemporary could believe at all, tho they're interesting fantasies. I'd put Perry Mason and Nancy Drew just under that limit, just within the window of 'well, possible, but never that frequently'. (I'd put Batman just above that upper limit; probably Tarzan too, sadly.)
The lower limit? Well, I don't care, because I want to post about stuff around 2/3 of the way up. I suppose the lower limit would be stuff that's so common, so 'ordinary life' to its contemporaries (at least its contemporary readers) that no one would buy those books at all if not for tone or character or tone or plot or tone or something. (Perhaps my beloved Angela Thirkell?
What I'm sneaking up on here, is how much we can hope to learn about the real life (or at least the real aspirations) of the readership of certain popular works.
ANNE OF GREEN GABLES and REBECCA OF SUNNYBROOK FARM show us unusually charming heroines having some pointed experiences -- in a world where it's common to take in unwanted orphans or poor relations as unpaid helpers, where the taken-in girl, when she gets disgusted and walks several miles in the middle of the night to a mentor's home, is lectured and sent to walk back alone at night. Where they sew their own dresses. Where children (Anne and Anne's daughters) do run loose outdoors, and some natural damage (and risk of bad natural damage) is accepted.
TOM SAWYER and HUCKLEBERRY FINN have surprising adventures -- in a world where young kids camping without backpacks or tents and eating fish and rabbits they catch as needed in the woods and on a raft is common, accepted.
THE SATURDAYS shows us a world where middle class New York kids can roam alone in the city for the whole day, on bus and on foot, with no supervision. THE YELLOW HOUSE iirc shows lower class kids doing the same thing, more or less, in a small town.
From "If not duffers wont drown" to avoiding the police in GREAT NORTHERN?, the main conflict theme throughout S&A seems to be how far the kids can go (deliberately or accidentally) without freaking out the parents (or Susan). From which we can see another upper limit: what the parents do (though reluctantly) accept. (Or push the kids into, as Captain Walker sends them off for a week or so into mapping dangerous tidal mud areas, with a baby along....) And we can see where the line is drawn, even between the two parents. Captain Walker meets them in Holland after they got blown across the Channel, is proud of their coping, pilots them home singing, then breaks the news gently to their mother, who is startled, at least.
'This year's S&A' was a popular Christmas gift bought by parents, who may have wished their own holiday arrangements were quite that consistently nice, or perhaps wished that their own eldest were as practical and reliable. But somehow I don't see them actively wishing their own basic standard of risk acceptance was different.
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|Who knew Seattle needed this?
||[May. 5th, 2013|01:34 pm]
My sorta-daughter in Seattle is planning a Personal Assistant / Errand service, and has uncautiously asked me to help compose a brochure and website. Here are some of the examples I'm giving her. --More, please?|
Deliver a cell phone to someone in the hospital.
.... BUY a cell phone and deliver it to someone in the hospital.
Take a dog to the groomer.
Pick up a cat from the vet.
Thump and buy a watermelon and deliver it to a beach party.
Buy an emergency hat for your aunt Mabel and deliver it to her at a meeting of the Red Hat Society on the beach of /// island.
Shop for a vegetable I've never seen (reasonable spelling errors allowed)
Find an image of the leaning tower of Pisa for a school project for someone whose computer is down.
Go to Aunt //'s house and look for my /// that I think I might have lost there last week (if you phone her to expect me).
And if I can't find it, I'll buy you a new one and deliver it to wherever you're stuck.
Pick up 97 prescriptions for blisters for the entire boating team and deliver them to the boat so they can row home (will hire water taxi if necessary)
Meet David Beckam at the airport and deliver him to your hen party.
Stand in line at the booksigning of your favorite auther to get the the book autogarphed to you, your aunt mable, and your dog flulffy.
Wikll go to the /// when you have to work later than the // is open.
Ride across the ferry to // and escort your // kid back .
Transport kids between ex's (in a cab or public transportation)
Take dog to dog park and stand there talking for half an hour (to the other humans standing there-- extra charge for talking to the dogs). Clean the dog afterwards.
Go to your house and get the shoebox full of receipts that you forgot to bring to the accountant appointment.
Go to you house and re-send the file attachments that didn'tn go through before you left for Bermuda.
Find out the Vehicle ID Number that your insurance agent is asking for.
Deliver a copy of your indurance // so you don't lose your place in line at the DMV.
Read your license plate in the DMV parking lot and phone you the number.
Deliver a permission trip slip to school/church/etc.
Deliver forgotten homework to school.
Admit the furnace repairman, ///, and /// when they all show up on the selfsame hysteric day.
Wait for someone to come and hook something up (extra charge if the tv isn't working yet). Big extra charge if Assistant's cell phone does not work there.
cheerfully get cat out of tree
teach elder how to use cell phone
Go see why elder's computer suddenly doesn't do something impossible to describe and does soemthing else impossible to describe instead. (Discount if it "won't do ANYTHING!" and just needs to be re-booted. Bigger discount if it just needs to be plugged in.)
make sure skype connection is working
visit elders to restore defaults (on various hardwre)
Install parental controls.
Go down to the Sutter Square station every day at quarter past two, and through the open window hand someone a sandwich as the train goes rumbling through. ( What's a better station for Seattle? Must scan same.)
Before bus arrival, tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree.
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|Signal boosting for accuracy about Keynes
||[May. 4th, 2013|06:41 pm]
May 4, 2013, 1:24 pm 48 Comments
Keynes, Keynesians, the Long Run, and Fiscal Policy
One dead giveaway that someone pretending to be an authority on economics is in fact faking it is misuse of the famous Keynes line about the long run. Here’s the actual quote:
"But this long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is long past the ocean is flat again."
As I’ve written before, Keynes’s point here is that economic models are incomplete, suspect, and not much use if they can’t explain what happens year to year, but can only tell you where things will supposedly end up after a lot of time has passed. It’s an appeal for better analysis, not for ignoring the future; and anyone who tries to make it into some kind of moral indictment of Keynesian thought has forfeited any right to be taken seriously.
And there’s an important corollary: how you should go about getting to some desired long-run outcome may depend a lot on how you think the economy works in the short run.
More at http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/04/keynes-keynesians-the-long-run-and-fiscal-policy/
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|Boston earworm escapes!
||[May. 3rd, 2013|11:53 am]
With all the sad recent news mentioning Boston neighborhoods ... Chelsea, Roxbury, Jamaica Plain ... I've been earwormed with the obvious, but keeping quiet.|
But today I saw good news about a school in Roxbury? improved by its new art program, after years of trouble and seven? principals who never returned.
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||[Apr. 30th, 2013|02:45 pm]
My own all too frequent situation.|
Anne longed for the power of representing to them all what they were about, and of pointing out some of the evils they were exposing themselves to.
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